Sunday evening, as he was contemplating the under sea diorama he wants to paint on his bedroom ceiling, my eight-year-old son casually mentioned to me that at this very moment scientists were conducting a census of marine life. He had read about it at school last spring. It was the first I had heard of the project, so imagine my surprise Monday morning when the Public Library of Science (PLoS) published a collection of articles entitled “Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues“.
Although my son was mostly wondering how scientists could count creatures living at the bottom of the Mariana trench and how they would know if they had counted a particular fish more than once, it turns out that the census is really a count of diversity and distribution. In the Census of Marine Life, researchers from more than 80 countries are trying to determine the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the world’s oceans.
This ten-year long project is publishing its results this year, but at least for me, they were scooped by an eight-year old who wants to paint his ceiling fan like a jelly fish, which sounds pretty cool to me.